Left:Kumano Hongū Taisha, Kumano Festival, held on every July, Statue of Musashibō-Benkei, Right:Kizetsu Gorge, Ryūjin Spa (all item for above to bottom)
Location of Tanabe in Wakayama Prefecture
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 33°44′N 135°23′E / 33.733°N 135.383°E / 33.733; 135.383Coordinates: 33°44′N 135°23′E / 33.733°N 135.383°E / 33.733; 135.383
 • MayorMitsutoshi Manago
 • Total1,026.91 km2 (396.49 sq mi)
 (November 1, 2021)
 • Total70,972
 • Density69/km2 (180/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+09:00 (JST)
City hall address1 Shin'yashikimachi, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama-ken
WebsiteOfficial website
BirdJapanese white-eye
TreeUbamegashi (Quercus phillyraeoides)
Tanabe city hall
Tanabe city hall

Tanabe (田辺市, Tanabe-shi) is a city located in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 November 2021, the city had an estimated population of 70,972 in 35076 households and a population density of 69 persons per km².[1] The total area of the city is 1,026.91 square kilometres (396.49 sq mi). Tanabe is the second largest city in Wakayama in terms of population, and the largest in the Kansai region of Japan in terms of area.


Tanabe is located the south-central Kii Peninsula and faces to the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Kii Mountains to the north and east. The coastline is intricate and forms Tanabe Bay. Tenjinzaki is at the northern end of the bay, and Shirahama is on the south side. The climate is moderated by the effects of the Kuroshio Current offshore.

Neighboring municipalities

Wakayama Prefecture

Nara Prefecture


Tanabe has a Humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) characterized by warm summers and cool winters with light to no snowfall. The average annual temperature in Tanabe is 16.6 °C. The average annual rainfall is 2348 mm with September as the wettest month. The temperatures are highest on average in August, at around 26.5 °C, and lowest in January, at around 6.9 °C.[2] The area is subject to typhoons in summer.


Per Japanese census data,[3] the population of Tanabe has decreased steadily over the past 30 years.

Historical population
1960 92,278—    
1970 85,347−7.5%
1980 88,130+3.3%
1990 86,143−2.3%
2000 85,646−0.6%
2010 79,107−7.6%


The area of the modern city of Tanabe was within ancient Kii Province. During the late Heian period to early Kamakura period, it was noted as the birthplace of Minamoto no Yoshitsune's companion, Benkei. During the Edo period, it was part of the holdings of Kishū Domain ruled by a cadet branch of the Tokugawa clan through a hereditary karō based at Tanabe Castle. The town of Tanabe was established with the creation of the modern municipalities system on April 1, 1889. It merged with the neighboring town of Haya and attained city status on May 20, 1942. Tanabe continued to expand through annexation of neighboring municipalities: the villages of Inari, Shimaakizu, Maro in 1950, Shinjo in 1954, Nishi-Tonda in 1955, and the town of Muro in 1958.

On May 1, 2005, the village of Ryūjin, (from Hidaka District), the town of Nakahechi, the village of Ōtō (both from Nishimuro District), and the town of Hongū (from Higashimuro District) were merged into Tanabe.


Tanabe has a mayor-council form of government with a directly elected mayor and a unicameral city council of 20 members. Tanabe contributes three members to the Wakayama Prefectural Assembly. In terms of national politics, the city is part of Wakayama 3rd district of the lower house of the Diet of Japan.


Tanabe is the main commercial center of central Wakayama Prefecture. Agriculture plays a major role in the economy, with production of umeboshi pickled plums, and the cultivation of various varieties of oranges and other citrus fruits predominant. Shiitake mushrooms, and the raising of poultry are also contributors. Commercial fishing and forestry play secondary roles.


Tanabe has 25 public elementary schools and 15 public middle schools operated by the city government and five public high schools operated by the Wakayama Prefectural Department of Education. The prefecture also operates one special education school for the handicapped, and one vocational education school.



JR WestKisei Main Line


Local attractions


Sister cities

Noted people from Tanabe


  1. ^ "Tanabe city official statistics" (in Japanese). Japan.
  2. ^ Tanabe climate data
  3. ^ Tanabe population statistics
  4. ^ Wyong Shire Council (14 January 2010). "Councillors aren't flippant when it comes to expenses". Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.